Strike a blow for the PIC (Prison Industrial Complex). Netflix has come up with a new sitcom about how fun and illuminating a stay in the federal penitentiary can be. Despite being based on a true story, the premise sends a disturbing message and I told them so.
Meanwhile, I’m wondering which prison industrial complex corporation is sponsoring the show? I’m betting there is one.
My question of “why TV and not a documentary” is an easy answer: there’s way more money in TV. The problem is that the effects of a TV show go much deeper than a documentary. An idea or behavior is promoted week after week, year after year, cementing a particular pov in the minds of the viewers.
“Gee, what fun! How exciting. Let’s all go to jail.” Just what we need, eh? Shows me how out of touch Netflix and Jenji are with the real world.
We have been satisfied customers for several years now. We don’t have TV service, just Netflix. We have been very happy with the service. We are open about what we and our kids watch online, we watch almost everything, are politically active, and firm believers in the free market.
One of your offerings has crossed a line for us. Your new original show, “Orange is the new Black,” a sitcom glorifying being in a federal penitentiary, is in astonishingly poor taste! You are promoting the idea that it’s ok — possibly even cool — to be “inside.” The kids and young adults will learn that, when their time comes, it just won’t be so bad, don’t sweat it. You’ll survive. It will even be fun at times. Prison is simply a growth opportunity.
If the prison industrial complex weren’t such a huge problem in this country, this might be cute and funny. But we are jailing our citizens for victimless crimes at a furious pace — the U.S. has more of its citizens in prison than any other country on the planet BY FAR. The number of laws making ordinary everyday actions into felonies is increasing at an alarming rate.
Please do your research and re-think this truly offensive premise. You are glorifying one of the sickest aspects of our current culture. You are saying, in effect, that it’s ok to jail people because look how fun and personally illuminating it can be, and what good can come of it.
The hint of girl-on-girl action in the advertising is particularly offensive. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but using such a provocative pose is TV marketing at its most disgusting. Is the premise not shocking enough, you need to make titillating promises about what we’ll see?
Netflix has joined the mainstream media in its race to the tasteless, pandering and boot-licking bottom. Congratulations.
Signed: A most unhappy customer
Not to let a crisis go unmentioned, Netflix disappointed again by having no customer service email. Customers have to send actual snail mail. Sigh. Mailing this off tomorrow (Netflix, Inc., 100 Winchester Circle, Los Gatos, CA 95032). I hope you’ll join me.
By the way, I got the address from the live chat customer service. After reading my missive, my representative was as appalled as I was and promised to join in the protest. Heh. Strike a blow for liberty!
UPDATE: Before you go crazy on me, please see the comment below. Thank you.
Ok. I’ve done a 165 on Orange is the New Black. I’d run out of shows to watch (Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Tudors, Hell on Wheels, Fargo…) and my husband was out of town and I can’t sleep when he’s out of town so… I started watching it. I’m now halfway through the second season.
I still think it glorifies prison and makes it too cool. The acting is mostly mediocre with a few really good characters in there (Carrie “big boo” Black is amazing). The writing is just ok. However, there have been some real zingers (which I will write down one day) that have made the mass mediocrity entirely worth sitting through in hopes for another one.
Here’s why my 165: my friend Doreen Hendrickson is very likely going to jail at the hands of the thugs at the IRS. I wrote about it here: http://www.kyfreepress.com/2014/07/irs-determined-jail-doreen-hendrickson/.
In fact, that’s where my husband is now: helping the Hendrickson’s fight off this assault and testifying as to Doreen’s character. Another reason why Orange/Black had appeal: what is Doreen in for?
I am relieved that jail is not going to be so bad. It will be horrible, truly and horribly horrible… but totally survivable. Even Pete said so, Doreen’s husband who just got out of a 3-year jail sentence at the hands of the very same IRS.
I’m thinking liberty people ought to take a better view of prison since, besides killing us, prison is the worst it can do. We need to get over the fear so we can stop complying with the nonsense. Orange/Black is a start.
Wow, and I do mean wow. Have you seen the show beyond the trailer? It doesn’t glorify prison at all, if anything it highlights the problems also seen in real prisons in the US, while being enjoyable enough to watch. I think you are jumping to conclusions due to some wish for conflict, even when none exists. Make some popcorn and watch the show. If you still don’t like it watch something else, the cool thing about netflix is the inherent ability to watch or not watch whatever you choose. Don’t try to ruin it for the rest of us who enjoy it, simply click the I’m not interested button and be done with it.
My response was so long, I made it a post on its own: http://www.kyfreepress.com/2013/07/orange-is-the-new-black-episode-2/
Loved Weeds. Loved Goodbye Earl and yes it glorified murder as a response to spousal abuse. Some people deserve killing. :)
Maybe you don’t get the same message from OITNB, but I’ve spoken with lots of people who are as appalled as I am by the normalization of prison life.
Hmmm, anonymous ad hominem criticism. Yawn.
Well, you do have my name and e-mail, so it’s not anonymous. I’m also criticising your argument against Netflix. So… It’s not ad hominem. I apolgozie for any personal remarks, but your argument against Netflix is lame, so that’s why I commented.
Personally, I can’t wait to watch the new show. I enjoyed Weeds. There’s a plethora of good documentaries out there, and sometimes I just want some mindless, off-color entertainment.
It’s a free country, so you can certainly write Netflix and tell them how you feel. However, I think it’s unfortunate that you apparently can’t teach your children that movies and television aren’t real… So you have to blog and write letters in a campaign to get television to conform to your own morals and ideals.
This reminds me of the Dixie Chicks getting into hot water a while back with their “Goodbye Earl” song. Everybody jumped to conclusions, demanding to know why the Dixie Chicks were promoting murder as a response to spousal abuse… When in reality, they weren’t. They were just telling a story through song. Unfortunately, the public wasn’t smart enough to get that.
In the same way, I don’t think that “Orange is the New Black” is intenionally promoting the idea that prison is cool. Maybe they’re just telling a story, and some of us aren’t smart enough to see that.
But you know it goes with the K-12 training they get in public schools being put on “lock down” at the slightest of issues inside or outside the schools.
Or the more and more frequent disclosure following “news” stories that say; “Authorities say no charges have been filed yet.” almost as if disappointed.
Netflix loves its new women’s prison reality TV show so much that they’ve renewed it for a second season before the first season’s July 11th premier.
I’m mailing a letter as a Netflix customer. Amazon Prime os looking better all the time.